Sunshine on Leith

Pitlochry Festival Theatre

Four stars

The lights of Leith are very much on in the cityscape diorama that sits at the top of Adrian Rees’ set for this revival of Stephen Greenhorn’s long lauded Proclaimers jukebox musical. Sixteen years since Greenhorn’s concoction was first seen, and eighteen months after Elizabeth Newman’s production took the Pitlochry stage by storm, the show is as joyous and as heartbreaking as it ever was.

Much of this, of course, is down to Craig and Charlie Reid’s songs, which give Greenhorn’s yarn about ex squaddies Davy and Ally’s prodigal’s return to Leith and their respective romances with Yvonne and Liz its emotional heart. As sung and played live by Newman’s brilliant cast of twelve, musical director Richard Reeday’s renderings of David Shrubsole’s arrangements lay bare the heart on sleeve narratives of each song. Just hearing the show’s main quartet divvy up stripped back interpretations of Letter from America, 500 Miles and many more is enough to have you welling up.

Even if you took away the music, you’re still left with a beautifully crafted Play for Today type drama that looks at class, community, and the complications of relationships in a world where the rules are constantly changing along with the irresistible rise of nouveau Leith. The all too real everyday observations about the destruction of the NHS and how the cannon fodder of war are left with scars beyond the physical are frighteningly of the moment.

Robbie Scott as Davy, Finlay Bain as Ally, Fiona Wood as Liz and Sinead Kenny as Yvonne all rise to this with drive and passion. Keith MacPherson and Alyson Orr do likewise as Davy and Liz’s parents, Rab and Jean, who must come to terms with a revelation that upends their own lives. Despite the state we’re currently in, going by this show, at least, Leith shines on still.